One last kiss and concrete lions

I finished One Last Kiss Wednesday night; it topped off at almost 6,500 words. Rachael read it and said, “Not much action, is there?” I told her it’s a character-driven story, but I don’t think she was convinced.

I’m pleased with the finished story, although it couldn’t hurt to do a bit of weeding; maybe thin it by 600 or 700 words. I’m going to let it set for a few days and then let a couple of my other first readers take a look at it. We’ll see.

Last night, I began Concrete Lions and got a running start, finishing 2,100 words. It’s my longest piece so far, other that my novel, Lifting Up Veronica, and it will probably come in at around 15,000 or 16,000 words.

It’s a murder mystery, the first I’ve ever tried, set in Las Vegas.

Here’s a sneak:

Every big city has its own special night sounds.

What is unique to most places is layered upon the ever-present hiss of traffic, but in Las Vegas the city’s special sounds float upon a sea of voices.

Laughing. Shouting. Screaming. Every day, around the clock. You can’t get away from it; even in the suburbs that roll across the flats to the east and climb into the foothills to the west, it is an ever-present whisper.

Near the north end of the Strip, that night, it was more intense than usual and every sound was as crystal as a very dry Martini; no olive or onion, thank you very much.

From the top deck of the parking garage of the Cumberland Lode, I could hear two drunks arguing over a ten-dollar chip they had found on the sidewalk in front of a store-front gambling joint squeezed in between two hotels. Other voices called out, as well, but the grunts and whimpers from the man and the woman in the vintage Cadillac parked next to me were almost overwhelming.

They were going at it, doggy style, in the back seat of the convertible, with the top down. It’s edged tailfins and sleek curves gleamed under the desert stars and it was easy to see that someone cared about the car. It was cherry.

I couldn’t say the same for the woman on her hands and knees in the back of the Cadillac.

Her lines were sculpted, too. She had a look men would have whistled at, once upon a time, but now she was just as vintage as the automobile. You see a lot of woman like that in Vegas; still trying to cash in on their looks, but starting to accept petty change for the effort.

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